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5 Facts About Parshat Va'etchanan that You (Maybe) Didn’t Know

Published on Friday September 24th, 2021

Discover and learn every week, "5 Facts" written on the weekly Parshah that you can share at your Shabbos table.

עֲלֵ֣ה ׀ רֹ֣אשׁ הַפִּסְגָּ֗ה וְשָׂ֥א עֵינֶ֛יךָ יָ֧מָּה וְצָפֹ֛נָה וְתֵימָ֥נָה וּמִזְרָ֖חָה וּרְאֵ֣ה בְעֵינֶ֑יךָ כִּי־לֹ֥א תַעֲבֹ֖ר אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֥ן הַזֶּֽה׃ (3:27)

Go up to the summit of Pisgah and gaze about, to the west, the north, the south, and the east. Look at it well, for you shall not go across beyond the Jordan.

1.     What are the 3 names for each direction?

  • Each of the four directions has three names:
  1. East: Mizrach, Kedem and Panim.
  2. West: Maarav, Yam and Achor.
  3. South: Darom, Teman and Negev.
  4. North: Tzafon, Zemol and Estov

(Meam Loez)


כִּֽי־תוֹלִ֤יד בָּנִים֙ וּבְנֵ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְנוֹשַׁנְתֶּ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וְהִשְׁחַתֶּ֗ם וַעֲשִׂ֤יתֶם פֶּ֙סֶל֙ תְּמ֣וּנַת כֹּ֔ל וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֥ם הָרַ֛ע בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהוָֽה־אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לְהַכְעִיסֽוֹ׃ (4:25)

When you have begotten children and children’s children and are long established in the land, should you act wickedly and make for yourselves a sculptured image in any likeness, causing the LORD your God displeasure and vexation.

2.     Was the Temple’s destroyed earlier than originally planned?

  • From the word “venoshantem” the Talmud learns that Hashem was kind with the Jewish people by advancing the Temple’s destruction by 2 years. It was supposed to be destroyed 852 years after their entry to the Holy Land but He made it happen after  850. If He hadn’t done so, the next verse’s prophecy of “Ki Avod Tovedun Maher” would have materialized. From here we learn that “maher” is defined as at least 852 years.

(Sanhedrin 38a)


כִּ֣י שְׁאַל־נָא֩ לְיָמִ֨ים רִֽאשֹׁנִ֜ים אֲשֶׁר־הָי֣וּ לְפָנֶ֗יךָ לְמִן־הַיּוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁר֩ בָּרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אָדָם֙ עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּלְמִקְצֵ֥ה הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְעַד־קְצֵ֣ה הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם הֲנִֽהְיָ֗ה כַּדָּבָ֤ר הַגָּדוֹל֙ הַזֶּ֔ה א֖וֹ הֲנִשְׁמַ֥ע כָּמֹֽהוּ׃ (4:32)

You have but to inquire about bygone ages that came before you, ever since God created man on earth, from one end of heaven to the other: has anything as grand as this ever happened, or has its like ever been known?

3.     How tall was Adam?

  • From here  the Talmud learns that when Adam was created he was the full length of the world. This means  that when he would lie down, his head would be in the east and his feet would be in the west. That distance is equal to the walking distance of 500 years. After he sinned, Hashem reduced his size to a height of 100 amot. Others explain this to mean that, originally, when  Adam would stand  on the ground  his head would touched the sky. Meaning that he originally measured the distance from earth to the sky. The Talmud ultimately clarifies that both distances from earth to the sky and from one end of the world to the other, are equal.

(Sanhedrin 38b, Mesivta Note 27: Rashi & Tosefot Chagigah 12a, Note 29: Baba Batra 75b)


אָֽנֹכִי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֧ר הוֹצֵאתִ֛יךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֣֥ית עֲבָדִֽ֑ים׃ (5:6)

I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage:

4.     Why the use of the singular form?

  • The use of the singular form is to teach us that  every Jew should imagine  that the Torah was given to him personally. One should not think that it is simply upon others to observe.


5.     Why is Shavuot called Atzeret?

  • One of the reasons that Shavuot is called “Atzeret/stopis because the Torah, which was given on Shavuot, is  a tool to “stop” their Yetzer HaRah.

(Rabbi Levy Yitzchok Miberditchev)

Eytan Yéhouda DZIKOWSKI - © Torah-Box Account

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